Monday, May 13, 2013

Velvet Robe Interview


1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
As of late we have been recording new material with more of a traditional black metal sound to it. Going in a slightly heavier direction certainly. There will still be a good deal of atmosphere present in anything we do, and there a lot of other experiments in the works as well. Currently finishing the score to a Bela Lugosi film, if all goes according to plan it will be ready by summer’s end, or thereabout. We also have a new EP, “Night Soil”, that is done and should be out fairly soon on Yersinia Pestis.
2. How would you describe the musical sound of the newer recording and how it differs from previous releases?
I believe you are speaking of “De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum et atrium” as the new release. This was really more of an attempt at making something that uses the medium of recording itself as part of the arrangement, if that makes sense. Something for the listener to experiment with, make them more involved. The first and last track are fairly straight forward heavy drone songs, used more as atmosphere to set the stage. The middle two tracks, which were released on the cassette, are actually four separate tracks. It’s essentially the same idea as an 8-track cassette, track one is on the left signal of side one, track two is the right signal. If you leave your panning control in the center you are hearing tracks one and two played simultaneously. It was our hope that listeners would experiment with these tracks, layer them in different ways, change the arrangements perhaps, speaker placement if possible. If you have moveable speakers then you could put the left speaker say in one room and the right in another, or you could put one face down or under a table while you were conducting a séance there. Meanwhile the other speaker might be across the room and sound more distant or ambient. I’m rambling a bit, I apologize. This release was meant to be more a “ritual” in and of itself, less of a “musical album” per se.
3. Your lyrics cover a lot of occult topics, can you tell us a little bit more about your views on Occultism?
There seems to a great deal of misunderstanding these days concerning the word “Occult”. Or at least that is our belief. We think of the “occult” simply as knowledge. Knowledge beyond that deemed acceptable by the mores of society. In days of old when a man would seek this “outside” knowledge he was treated as dangerous, someone to be feared, in league with the devil. This certainly was not the case at all, but humans have a strange and often violent sentiment toward other humans seeking to better themselves. To quote the great author Ambrose Bierce from his work, “The Devil’s Dictionary”: “SUCCESS, n. The one unpardonable sin against one's fellows”. And so our take on the occult, we hope, is more in line with the actual definition of the word. Our interest in such obscurities and relics of days gone by or otherworldly happenings is due to our curiosity in nature and our thirst for knowledge, not simply for love of demons and witches, or angels and saints for that matter.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the band’s name?
The common attire among those who seek to know the unknowable, reach the unreachable, and obtain the unobtainable.
5. Has the band done any live shows or is this strictly a studio project?
We have been discussing the idea of doing a few live performances recently. There are a few difficulties that arise with performing some of the older material, but many of our new songs would work well. We would very much like to make something happen this year.
6. Currently you are signed to Yersinia Pestis, how did you get in contact with this label and how would you describe the support they have given you so far?
They are an excellent label to work with. Total contempt for mainstream culture. I don’t seem to recall how our paths crossed originally.
7. Recently you put out a split with Merlin, what are your thoughts on the other band that participated?
Merlin is an extremely original group of musicans/people. They do not make music that simply reminds of you music you already like, which is unfortunately what a lot of bands do now. They have something very unique happening, and should be commended for that. We are very happy with the split.
8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of drone and doom metal?
All the feedback we’ve had so far has been amazing. This is not very approachable music, it takes a certain type of mind to appreciate it, and the amount of positive feedback we’ve gotten so far has come as quite a surprise. I think the drone crowd has latched onto it more than the doom scene, and that’s perfectly understandable.
9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
In the very near future it will certainly be more of a “band” feel, faster and heavier. We add new people into the lineup as needed for the track. Some tracks only require one man, others five. It keeps things from stagnating. There will certainly be plenty of drone and ambient elements or even albums in the future, but for now things are going to get louder and nastier.
10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Certainly classical organ. Bach especially. Though I doubt much of that actually shows through in the music itself, probably more in the mood. The earlier Ministry albums, mainly the slower cuts on those. Fairly recently we’ve been listening to Mortualia, Asylum, Topeth, Graveyard Ghoul, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, Anguish, Cosmic Church, and Nosvrolok.
11. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Film. Poetry. Having a nice long smoke of tobacco in a pipe. There’s really nothing like it. Actual pipe tobacco I mean. Dunhill’s “Early Morning Pipe” is a favorite of mine.
12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
"But soon," he cried with sad and solemn enthusiasm, "I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that conflagration will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace, or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farewell."

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